<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2018https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth https://www.nbcdfw.comen-usSat, 17 Mar 2018 23:16:02 -0500Sat, 17 Mar 2018 23:16:02 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Implosion Imminent For Once Prominent Fort Worth High Rise]]> Sat, 17 Mar 2018 22:28:19 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/FW-Westchester-Plaza-Implosion.jpg

At 8 a.m. Sunday morning a Dallas Demolition crew in a parking lot about 100 feet away from Fort Worth’s Westchester Plaza will push the button to set off nearly 300 pounds of dynamite installed throughout the now skeleton frame.

It’ll take just seconds for the building to collapse into its own footprint turning the 12 story structure into 17,000 tons of rubble.

It’s a rare spectacle expected to draw a crowd.

“It’s an experience unlike any other, especially in person. Think of thunder going off and feeling it in your chest,” said Sunny Lohden with Dallas Demolition.

But in the hours leading up to the moment months in the making, many stopped by to see Westchester intact one last time.

“It was the place to be, because you see a high rise and there were very few high rises around here so it was the place to live for sure,” said Bill Jensen.

But even several decades back when Jensen’s soon-to-be bride was scouting it out as a place to call home, Jensen said the once luxurious apartments felt tired.

Not long after, the property was converted into assisted living facility.

LaTonne Stout’s program for the deaf moved in to occupy a floor during September of 1989.

“All of the many, many lives of the deaf and deaf blind that have lived in that building. I can just think of the most wonderful stories,” said Stout.

But as the building aged, so did its reputation.  While Stout shed tears thinking about the end of Westchester, Sheila Worthey said she was glad to see it go.

“It’s kind of bittersweet really…. To see it come down. There are a lot of memories here, but it’s time for it to go,” said Worthey.

Worthey’s son, who called Westchester Plaza home for 17 years, will sit in a nearby parking lot with her Sunday morning to watch the building come down where they say too many people were treated poorly.

Those who do turn out Sunday morning will be kept at a distance.

Lohden says several nearby buildings have been draped with fabric or had windows covered with plastic or foam out of an abundance of caution. He said no other property should be disturbed including several nearby historic homes.

“We’ve had engineers out here during the studies monitoring seismic activity and it’s at a minimum,” said Lohden.

Dallas Demolition will line the streets with several trailers that aim to contain dust and debris to the site.

Crews will be on hand to quickly cleanup any dust outside of that area so streets can be reopened. The debris will take about six weeks to remove. 

The following streets will be closed from 5:30 a.m. until 9 a.m. Sunday.

  • 8th Avenue From I-30 WBSR to Pruitt
  • Summit Avenue From 8th to Pennsylvania
  • Petersmith Street from Summit to Ballinger
  • Tucker Street from Summit to Ballinger
  • Pennsylvania Avenue from 9th to Ballinger

Traffic on I-30 will also be slowed down during the actual time of the implosion.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[One Man Dead After Shooting at Garland Apartment Complex]]> Sat, 17 Mar 2018 20:27:15 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Garland+Shooting.jpg

Garland Police are investigating after a shooting at the Meadow Creek Apartments that left one man dead.

Officers were called to the apartment in the 500 block of Tacoma Drive just after 11 a.m. Saturday.

Responding officers found a man lying at the bottom of a stairway between two buildings. It appeared he had been shot several times.

Rescue crews responded to the scene, but the man was later pronounced dead.

So far there's been no arrest. Police continue their investigation.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect Accused of Attacking City Building: Police]]> Sat, 17 Mar 2018 13:07:43 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/CHcollage2.jpg

A suspect was arrested after attacking and damaging a Cockrell Hill city building Thursday, police said.

A police officer took Eric Scott Verschoore into custody after he attacked the Cockrell Hill Municipal Building about 1:30 p.m., police said. Verschoore was hospitalized for medical and psychiatric evaluation, police said.

The officer suffered minor injuries during the arrest, police said.

Police believe Verschoore “manifested suicidal tendencies and suffers from severe mental disorders, suggesting that he may have anticipated a deadly force encounter with officers after his attack,” police said in a Facebook post.

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<![CDATA[DOD Identify Service Members Killed in Iraq Helicopter Crash]]> Sat, 17 Mar 2018 22:51:59 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/FOUR+TRI-STATE+MILITARY+KILLED.jpg

The Department of Defense identified on Saturday the seven airmen who died on March 15 when their helicopter crashed in western Iraq. 

The men ranged in age from 29 to 39 and hailed from Colorado, Florida and New York.

Captain Mark K. Weber, 29, of Colorado Springs, Colorado was assigned to the 38th Rescue Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. 

The two men from Florida were identified as Master Sergeant William R. Posch, 36, of Indialantic, and Staff Sergeant Carl P. Enis, 31, of Tallahassee. Both were assigned to the 308th Rescue Squadron, Air Force Reserve, at Patrick Air Force Base. 

The four men from New York were Captain Andreas B. O'Keeffe, 37, of Center Moriches; Captain Christopher T. Zanetis, 37, of Long Island City; Master Sergeant Christopher J. Raguso, 39, of Commack; and Staff Sergeant Dashan J. Briggs, 30, of Port Jefferson Station.

All four were assigned to the 106th Rescue Wing at the Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base, New York.  

The seven men, who were supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, died when their HH-60 Pave Hawk crashed near the city of Al-Qa'im in western Iraq, according to the Pentagon.

"This tragedy reminds us of the risks our men and women face every day in service of our nations. We are thinking of the loved ones of these service members today," U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jonathan P. Braga, director of operations in the fight against IS in Iraq and Syria, said in a statement.

The crash did not appear to be the result of enemy activity and is under investigation, the Pentagon said.

President Donald Trump offered his thoughts and prayers on Twitter Friday for the families of service members killed, saying he was thinking of the "brave troops," and adding that "their sacrifice in service to our country will never be forgotten."

Photo Credit: DOD
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<![CDATA[The Secret to NCAA Success? 98-Year-Old Sister Jean]]> Sat, 17 Mar 2018 22:39:32 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Newy_NCAA.jpg

Loyola beat Tennessee 63-62 to advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 Saturday night. The team says there is one secret to their success, 98-year-old Team Chaplin Sister Jean Delores-Schmidt.

<![CDATA[Gallery: NTX Fire Depts. Ready to Help Fight Wildfires]]> Sat, 17 Mar 2018 22:13:14 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/181*120/Frisco+Fire+Department+-+Texas+Intrastate+Fire+Mutual+Aid+%281%29.JPG Firefighters from the Frisco and Flower Mound Fire Departments are now in Wichita Falls, prepared to help fight any large wildfires that may break out in the Texas panhandle.

Photo Credit: Frisco Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[North Texas Fire Depts. Ready to Help Fight Texas Wildfires]]> Sat, 17 Mar 2018 22:21:06 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Frisco-Fire-Department-heads-to-Panhandle---Texas-Intrastate-Fire-Mutual-Aid-System.jpg

Firefighters from the Frisco and Flower Mound Fire Departments are now in Wichita Falls, prepared to help fight any large wildfires that may break out in the Texas Panhandle.

Forecasters warned Friday that the intensifying drought has resulted in critical fire danger and some winter wheat crops being reduced to stubble across several states.

Due to the dry conditions, the National Weather Service issued fire warnings Friday for most of Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, southern Kansas, northeastern New Mexico, southeastern Colorado and southeastern Missouri.

The lack of rain combined with above-normal temperatures across parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas have left livestock watering tanks dry, agricultural fields wind-blown and rangeland charred.

Four firefighters and one Type III engine from the Frisco Fire Department and two firefighters and a brush truck from the Flower Mound Fire Department all left North Texas Saturday afternoon.

The crews are part of the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System. Fire crews can be deployed for up to seven days.

Once in Wichita Falls, the crews will receive further instructions.

Photo Credit: Frisco Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[Final Victims Removed From Under Fallen Pedestrian Bridge]]> Sat, 17 Mar 2018 22:43:15 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/216*120/031718_carflat.PNG

Authorities recovered the final two victims from the bridge collapse near Florida International University on Saturday, after two days of arduous work.

"It has been a laborious, tedious process," Miami-Dade's Police Chief Juan Perez said at a press conference Saturday night, describing the efforts required to locate and extract victims beneath 950 tons of concrete.

The only time rescuers paused during their days-long search-and-rescue efforts, Perez said, was when officials prayed over victims before escorting them the medical examiner's office.

Five people died when the pedestrian bridge came crashing down on March 15. A sixth victim died at a hospital from injuries sustained in the collapse. Perez said that although he was "pretty confident" all victims were now accounted for, offiicals would do a final sweep to be sure.

By Saturday night five victims had been identified: Alexa Duran, an 18-year-old FIU student; Alberto Arias and his passenger Oswald Gonzalez; Rolando Fraga-Hernandez and Navarro Brown.

NBC News reported that Duran was driving home from a doctor's appointment when the bridge collapsed on top of her car. Her best friend, Richard Humble, was in the passenger seat when it happened. He told the "Today" show that he and Duran had been at a red light when they heard a creak above them, just seconds before the bridge crushed their car.

Relatives of Arias, said he had been helping his mother move when the bridge collapsed on his white Chevy truck. His friend and passenger, Gonzalez, also died from the impact.

Brown, 37, was working on site at the time of the collapse.

Experts from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration joined police in taking over command of the scene Friday from first responders, who had spent hours racing to find survivors in the rubble of the 175-foot span using high-tech listening devices, trained sniffing dogs and search cameras.

Ten people were transported to Kendall Regional Medical Center from the site of the collapse near Southwest 8th Street and 109th Avenue. Two were listed in critical condition when they arrived and one person died at the hospital. Officials have not confirmed if the deceased was one of the 10 taken there or if it was someone who was brought in themselves.

The bridge was reportedly put to a "stress adjustment" before it collapsed over traffic before 2 p.m. on Thursday. Two workers were on top when it pancaked on top of vehicles waiting at a stoplight.

Perez and Miami-Dade County deputy mayor Maurice Kemp would not confirm if that test did take place. 

And on Tuesday, an engineer of the company that designed the bridge warned the Florida Department of Transportation of cracks to the structure in a voicemail, but said the company was "not concerned" from a "safety perspective."

Denney Pate from the FIGG Bridge Group left the voicemail, and FDOT employees did not listen to the voicemail until Friday – the day after the bridge collapsed.

Sgt. Jenna Mendez of the Sweetwater Police Department was one of the first responders on the scene. The collapse happened while she was driving to work and she said she only missed becoming a victim herself because she had been running late and was stopped at a red light when the disaster struck. 

“I really wasn’t believing what I had seen,” she told NBC's "Today" show on Friday.

Mendez said that after realizing what had happened she jumped on top of the bridge to help construction workers who were "severely injured."

"I was just in that rescue mode," she said. Fire rescue officials had to yell at her not to put her safety at risk by going under the debris.

The Florida Highway Patrol is urging students to carpool on Monday as they return to school. Since roads will continue to be closed well into next week, they anticipate heavy delays as students return to school.

FHP also recommends students to plan for heavy traffic delays as they head to class. Details about detours and road closures can be found here

Photo Credit: ]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Crashes Into Dallas Fire Engine]]> Sat, 17 Mar 2018 14:50:27 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/215*120/dallascrashwengine.JPG

A driver was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries after crashing into a Dallas Fire and Rescue engine early Saturday morning, police said.

The fire engine was headed westbound on W. Camp Wisdom Road about 12:15 a.m. with lights and sirens on when a sedan was headed southbound on Woodwick Drive crashed into the engine at an intersection, police said.

The driver of the sedan was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, police said. Dallas Fire-Rescue reported no injuries for their personnel.

The crash caused the fire engine to move into the eastbound lanes and traffic was being diverted. Lanes have since reopened.

<![CDATA['Flash Mob' Drops Bikes at Dallas City Hall]]> Fri, 16 Mar 2018 15:41:30 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Bikes_at_Dallas_City_Hall_1200x675_1187795523698.jpg

A small group of people upset with rental bikes scattered around Dallas dropped some off at City Hall Friday afternoon.

An online invitation for the so-called "flash mob" stated that they want to raise awareness about the issue of bike sharing -- and bikes being left anywhere and everywhere.

The city is still considering ideas to reduce the bike clutter.

<![CDATA[Allen Steer Wins Grand Champion Title]]> Sat, 17 Mar 2018 19:22:17 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/Allen+Steer.jpg

Ever wonder what it takes to win $410,000 for a steer?

A junior from Allen High School might have some insight.

Cameron Conkle’s Charolais steer named Loki won the Grand Champion title at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo this weekend where he competed against 1,739 other steers.

Loki was auctioned Saturday and Cameron is headed back to North Texas Saturday afternoon where he’ll be welcomed by the Allen FFA Alumni Association and the Allen FFA.

Cameron plans to attend Texas A&M University to study Agribusiness.

Photo Credit: Rodeo Houston]]>
<![CDATA[Gallery: St. Patrick's Day 2018]]> Sat, 17 Mar 2018 14:25:32 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/160*148/3d107cd3-16c1-4bc5-b188-0877c8a2d38e.jpeg Prepare to get pinched or kissed this weekend. North Texas will turn green, not with envy, but with the luck o’ the Irish!

Photo Credit: Karen Flad]]>
<![CDATA[Missing 38-Year-Old Woman Found Safe]]> Sat, 17 Mar 2018 20:39:20 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/0317ruthgeorge.jpg

Dallas police said Saturday night that a missing 38-year-old woman has been found safe.

Ruth George was last seen Saturday at 2 a.m. in the 9900 block of Ridgehaven Drive, police said.

Investigators said George may be confused and in need of assistance, which is why they ask for help finding her.

But again, George has been found and is safe.

<![CDATA[Woman Dies After Firefighters Rescue Her From 2-Alarm Fire]]> Fri, 16 Mar 2018 20:36:20 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Bedford_House_Fire_Aerial_Video_1200x675_1187801667663.jpg

A Bedford woman pulled from her home by firefighters and resuscitated has died after being hospitalized Friday.

Firefighters rescued the woman after locating her inside her smoke-filled home using thermal imaging equipment. She was unconscious at the time, but firefighters were able to revive her using CPR.

She was transported to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas where she later died, officials said.

Brenden Stich, a neighbor, was outside working on his car Friday afternoon when he saw thick, black smoke rising into the air from a home on an adjacent street.

Stich said he ran to the home on Coffee Tavern Road, yelled through the front door and then forced his way inside when no one answered.

Dense, black smoke greeted Stich as he entered the home, though he was able to make out the shape of a dog on the living room floor. The good Samaritan grabbed the dog, turned around and said he had trouble making out the front door.

After making his way back outside with the dog he said he considered going back into the home, but said it was too hot and the smoke was too thick for him to return.

Meanwhile, neighbors had called 911 to report seeing smoke coming from home and that they believed a woman was still inside.

Firefighters arrived quickly from a nearby fire station and made their way into the home where they retrieved the woman.

Stich said he didn't know his neighbor, or that she had a dog, but wanted to be sure that if there was someone inside that he tried to help them.

"In my mind, I wish I would have went back in and tried to find her, but I knew with the capability of who I am as a person and how much smoke was in there there was no way I could have done it myself," Stich said.

Ryan Hancock, an engineer with the Bedford Fire Department, said the firefighters did a phenomenal job using the tools available and their training to rescue the woman and to give her the best chance at survival.

"This is one of those situations we train countless hours for, to be able to make a big impact when seconds count," Hancock said. "When seconds count, training is what you rely on."

Hancock said the cause of the fire is under investigation. Officials said there was no one else inside the home at the time and no other injuries were reported.

<![CDATA[1 Dead, 1 Injured in Shooting at Southern California Mall]]> Sat, 17 Mar 2018 19:48:42 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/211*120/180217-thousand-oaks-mall.JPG

A woman was killed and a man was injured following in a shooting at a Southern California shopping mall Saturday afternoon.

The victim was identified as a 30-year-old woman from Thousand Oaks and the suspect was identified as a 33-year-old man from Los Angeles. The victim and the suspect are a divorced couple with children in common, according to Garo Kuredjian of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

Around 2:15 p.m., the sheriff’s department received a call of shots fired inside the Paper Source store at the Oaks Shopping Center. The victim – who was an employee of the Paper Source store – was "targeted," the sheriff’s department said.

It was not an active shooter incident. The shooting is being described as an attempted murder-suicide.

Deputies found the woman dead inside the store and the suspect "gravely injured" from a gunshot wound. He was taken to a nearby hospital and a gun was recovered at the scene.

An update on the suspect's condition was not immediately available.

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"The situation is contained and there is no threat to the public," the Thousand Oaks Station tweeted around 3:15 p.m.

There are no outstanding suspects, authorities said.

Shoppers ran for safety after hearing the gunshots at the mall. A man who was in the Vans store next door to the Paper Source told NBC4 he heard the shots, ran into the back room and the employees locked the doors.

"It sounded like balloons or firecrackers … we didn’t know what was going on," Dan Beaton said.

Amid the chaos, shoppers were advised they could seek safety at the VCFD Fire station 30 across the street.

The indoor portion of the Oaks Mall reopened shortly after 4 p.m. The open air portion of the mall remains closed during the investigation.

Photo Credit: NewsChopper 4
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<![CDATA[FOUND: Missing Teen, 45-Year-Old Located in Mexico]]> Sat, 17 Mar 2018 22:38:49 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/20180317+Kevin+Esterly.jpg

A 45-year-old man and a 16-year-old girl who have been missing from Pennsylvania have been located in Mexico and are returning to the United States, the U.S. Marshal's office in Miami confirmed.

Investigators believe the 16-year-old willingly disappeared with Kevin Esterly, a father of two. 

They were located late Saturday morning and taken into custody in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said.

Law enforcement sources said the girl is expected to fly back to Philadelphia and then be reunited with her family in Allentown. (NBC10 is no longer naming the girl, now that she has been found safe.)

Esterly was arrested by Mexican authorities and will be extradited, first to Miami and then to Pennsylvania. He is charged with custodial interference.

The two have been missing since March 5. An Amber Alert was issued in Mexico for them Thursday, after it was discovered that they had bought one-way tickets to Dallas and then to Cancun.

Allentown Police told the girl's family of the news at 4 p.m. Saturday. 

"Thank you, God," her mother said to a reporter who called her Allentown home.

According to a warrant issued after the two disappeared, Esterly signed the girl out of school 10 times between Nov. 13 and Feb. 9 without her parents' permission.

Investigators said it now appears that the girl may have added Esterly to her school emergency contact list as a stepfather. That, they said, would have allowed him to remove the girl from school.

Esterly and the girl apparently had a secret relationship for months, and investigators said she may even have gone on family vacations with Esterly. He is married with two children.

Police said the girl's mother called Feb. 9 to report Esterly had signed her child out of Lehigh Valley Academy earlier that day. On Feb. 15, records show police told Esterly to stay away from the teen's home.

Photo Credit: U.S. Marshalls]]>
<![CDATA[Search Resumes for Missing Plant Worker]]> Sat, 17 Mar 2018 14:09:01 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dylan-mitchell-inset.jpg

The search for a man who is missing after an explosion and fire destroyed the Texas chemical plant where he worked is continuing, but has slowed down due to concern for the weather Saturday, officials said.

Dylan Mitchell, 27, is believed to have been at work inside the Tri-Chem Industries Plant in Cresson when something exploded, sparking a fire that consumed the building Thursday.

The recovery effort continued Friday and Saturday but weather has been a concern along with keeping chemicals contained to the area, the Cresson Fire Chief said.

Mitchell's brother, Austin Mitchell, spoke with NBC 5 Thursday afternoon and said his family is fearing the worst since his brother hasn't been seen since the blast was reported.

"It sucks. I feel hollow," Austin Mitchell said. "It's been this long, he's probably dead."

The section of the building that remains standing after the fire was searched by rescuers earlier Friday, but there was no sign of Mitchell in that part of the building.

The search was halted for part of the day while the collapsed part of the building was evaluated. Sometime before 2 p.m., crews began using heavy machinery to lift parts of the collapsed structure so that the search for Mitchell could continue.

Officials at the scene said some parts of the building are still smoldering and that the search could take some time.

"What's in there is still dangerous right now, there are a lot of fires still burning in there; relatively small fires," said Ron Becker, Chief of the Cresson Fire Department. "We know, based on some witness accounts, where we think the individual was last seen and it's a portion of the building that has collapsed."

The Environmental Protection Agency and a specialized hazmat team are on site assisting in the investigation. 

Two other people working at the facility were injured in the fire, including one person who was critically burned on his trunk and hands and flown about 50 miles to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

A second injured person, whose injuries were not as serious, was taken to Lake Granbury Medical Center.

NBC 5 has learned about 12 people work at the Cresson facility, which opened about a year ago. There were no other injuries reported and it's not immediately clear how many people were working at the facility Thursday.

On Friday, a list provided to state regulators shows the mixing facility routinely worked with a number of different chemicals, including acids, many of them flammable and others that are toxic.

Air quality around the area has been monitored and officials do not believe there is any threat to the public.

The investigation into the fire, meanwhile, is ongoing. Though most believe the cause of the fire was accidental, arson investigators from Tarrant County are also looking into what caused the fire.

NBC 5's Kevin Cokely and Tim Ciesco contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News/Mitchell Family
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<![CDATA[Five Victims Identified in Pedestrian Bridge Collapse]]> Sat, 17 Mar 2018 21:32:03 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/031718+victims.jpg

Three more cars were removed from the rubble near Florida International University Saturday, allowing officials to identify more victims and families to begin processing the loss of their loved ones.

Police said that Rolando Fraga-Hernandez, Oswald Gonzalez, Alberto Arias and Navarro Brown were among those killed when a 950-ton pedestrian bridge collapsed near the university on March 15. NBC 6 was able to independently confirm on Friday that Alexa Duran was also killed in the incident.

“My niece is still in her vehicle, one of the last ones to get out,” said Joe Smitha, Alexa Duran’s uncle.

Duran’s uncle says nothing will bring his niece back but now his grief has turned to anger, and he is demanding answers from those involved.

“It’s too late for my niece. It’s too late for the other family’s children who were lost in there. I want people to step up and say ‘hey, I was the one responsible.’ Come out of the shadows. Where are you people? This was a colossal failure of the system and this was complete incompetence from the top down,” said Smitha.

The FIU freshman and political science major was driving under the bridge when the bridge came crashing down on her Toyota SUV. Her passenger somehow survived the wreckage.

Others were distraught as they waited at the family reunification center on Saturday.

Police said Arias, 53, was the driver of a white Chevy truck pulled from the wreckage on Saturday.

“He went out of his way to help anybody. He was a business owner and he just took a lot of pride in his work and family,” said Ismael Segovia, his cousin.

Relatives say Arias was helping his mother move. His friend and passenger, Oswald Gonzalez, also died from the impact.

Brown, 37, was working on site when the bridge collapsed.

Fraga–Hernandez's gold Jeep Cherokee was tragically pinned underneath the weight of the concrete.

Chaplains were on site trying to console families during those tough times.

“I think people are in shock and some of them are in shock, some want to cry, some are too emotional to even cry. It’s pent up in there because of the unknown about where that family member may be,” said Thomas Hanlon, a chaplain.

Officials continue to work to extract six remaining cars at the scene. Authorities are working to identify any remaining victims to give families closure as they prepare burials for their loved ones.

<![CDATA[Pickle-Flavored Slush Coming to Sonic]]> Sat, 17 Mar 2018 15:32:39 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Millions_Possibly_Impacted_by_Data_Breach_at_Sonic.jpg

In Texas, we have fried pickles, pickle-flavored chips, and other options for the pickle lovers out there. But soon we’ll be able to order a pickle-flavored slush thanks to Sonic.

On Friday, the drive-in chain announced a pickle juice slush and it will likely be available starting in early June.

“Quite simply, pickle juice is fun,” Scott Uehlein, Sonic's vice president of product innovation and development, told TODAY Food via email. “Nothing says summer like a Sonic slush.”

According to Food & Wine, which got a sneak preview taste test of the new slush at Sonic's Oklahoma City headquarters, the drink's syrup has a "sweet and tangy" punch to it.

Customers can also add pickle juice to any drink.

<![CDATA[Engineer Left Voicemail About Cracks in Bridge Before Collapse]]> Sat, 17 Mar 2018 12:43:50 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Bridge-Recovery.jpg

An engineer of the company that designed the faulty pedestrian bridge warned the Florida Department of Transportation of cracks to the structure in a voicemail, but said the company was "not concerned" from a "safety perspective."

Denney Pate from the FIGG Bridge Group left the voicemail on Tuesday. FDOT employees did not listen to the voicemail until Friday – the day after the bridge near Florida International University collapsed, killing six people.

FDOT released a transcript of the voicemail Friday:

“This is Denney Pate with FIGG bridge engineers. Calling to – share with you some information about the FIU pedestrian bridge and some cracking that’s been observed on the north end of the span, the pylon end of that span we moved this weekend,” Pate said. "We’ve taken a look at it and – obviously some repairs or whatever will have to be done but from a safety perspective we don’t see that there’s any issue there so we’re not concerned about it from that perspective although obviously the cracking is not good and something’s going to have to be, ya know, done to repair that. At any rate, I wanted to chat with you about that because I suspect at some point that’s gonna get to your desk. So, uh, at any rate, call me back when you can. Thank you. Bye.”

Authorities are working to investigate the cause of the incident.

Two of the six victims have been identified. Authorities are slowly removing the debris, looking for more victims.

"At no point during any of the communications above did FIGG or any member of the FIU design build team ever communicate a life-safety issue," FDOT said in a statement. "Again, FIGG and the FIU design build team never alerted FDOT of any life-safety issue regarding the FIU pedestrian bridge prior to collapse."

FIGG released a statement over the voicemail in which it said it would "pursue answers to find out what factors led to this tragic situation."

"The evaluation was based on the best available information at that time and indicated that there were no safety issues," FIGG wrote. "It is important that the agencies responsible for investigating this devastating situation are given the appropriate time in order to accurately identify what factors led to the accident during construction."

But FIU said representatives from the University -- as well as officials with FIGG, MCM and FDOT -- convened during a meeting at 9 a.m. Thursday morning to discuss the crack. FIU said the FIGG engineer concluded the crack didn't present safety concerns and "did not compromise the structural integrity of the bridge." 

During a press conference, the National Transportation Safety Board said that cracks to the bridge – cracks which the NTSB stressed they had not yet verified – may not necessarily have made the structure unsafe. The NTSB said it would work to determine all facts related to the cracks mentioned.

Munilla Construction Management, which was building the bridge, has not yet released a comment.

Please check back for updates to this developing story.

The responsibility to identify and address life-safety issues and properly communicate them is the sole responsibility of the FIU design build team. At no point during any of the communications above did FIGG or any member of the FIU design build team ever communicate a life-safety issue. Again, FIGG and the FIU design build team never alerted FDOT of any life-safety issue regarding the FIU pedestrian bridge prior to collapse. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[LIVE RADAR: North Texas Under Severe Thunderstorm Watch]]> Sat, 17 Mar 2018 21:04:58 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/216*120/Capture2101.jpg


A stationary boundary and area of low pressure will help to create some strong to severe thunderstorms this afternoon through midnight tonight. The greatest threat for storms in DFW will be between 5 PM and 9 PM. Large hail and damaging winds will be the main threat, but a brief tornado or two cannot be ruled out.

Once the storms exit the area tonight, the rest of the night will be fairly quiet with the sky becoming mostly cloudy. It will remain mild tonight with temperatures dropping only into the lower 60s.

Get the latest forecast information from NBC 5's team of Weather Experts here.

Latest Video Forecast

Interactive Radar


Above: A view of Fort Worth from The Stayton at Museum Way. Below, Dallas from Lake Cliff Tower.

Check back and refresh this page for the latest update. As this story is developing, elements may change.

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<![CDATA[Plan Transforms Fort Worth Quarry Into Entertainment Center]]> Fri, 16 Mar 2018 23:32:40 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/fw+quarry.JPG

A north Fort Worth neighborhood is set for some major changes with an ambitious plan to turn an abandoned quarry into a brand new living and entertainment center.

The development would go just north of Loop 820, between Saginaw and Meacham Airport, and neighbors have mixed feelings about the change in the landscape.

On the northern edge of Fort Worth, you'll find a clear view of downtown, birds swimming in a small lake, and neighbors happy with the status quo.

"It's just really quiet. It feels like a little nature preserve," said neighbor Larisa Grimes.

But that's all about to change with a $280 million plan to transform the abandoned quarry into a mixed-use development, with high-end housing, two hotels, a conference center, a music venue and a Ferris wheel, all surrounding a lake-front beach.

To some neighbors, it sounds a bit far-fetched.

"I just have my doubts that all that stuff's gonna fit in that small area," said neighbor Jamail Razvi.

Plus there are worries about increased traffic. NBC 5 saw how challenging it can be already to pull onto Old Decatur Road from the neighborhood.

"You have to floor it, corner it on two wheels and then hope that you make it before the next car behind you is right on your tail," Grimes said.

The project comes with plans for a new stoplight and widening part of Old Decatur Road to ease traffic. The developers are also planning to build down into the quarry, to keep the view much the same.

Some are optimistic that their property values could get a boost, with a new slate of options filling a hole in the far north entertainment landscape.

"It's nice to know that they're going to do something with it that will give kids an opportunity to have entertainment right here in this area," said Grimes. "It should be a good thing overall, as long as it's done well."

Construction is expected to begin later this year and could take up to four years to complete.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA['Team Christina' to Help Find Other Missing People]]> Sat, 17 Mar 2018 18:45:12 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/typhenie+johnson+flyer.JPG

They spent three-and-a-half years searching for Christina Morris.

Now that her remains have been found, “Team Christina” says they plan to shift their mission to help find other missing people.

They say they will help search for Michael Chambers, a retired Dallas firefighter who mysteriously disappeared from his home near Quinlan in March 2017.

“We know how hard the searches are,” said Angel Jenkins, a member of “Team Christina.”

They also plan to look for Typhenie Johnson, a 23-year-old who disappeared from a Fort Worth apartment complex in 2016.

Her boyfriend at the time, Christopher Revill, is charged with her kidnapping.

Friends and family have spent countless hours searching for Johnson, much like Team Christina did.

The Facebook page “Help Find Christina Morris” shared a flyer Friday followers to help search for Johnson to bring her home.

“It does get frustrating when you go on for years and you keep going but you don’t find,” said Rosie Aschenbrenner, a “Team Christina” member.

Organizers of a search for Johnson on Saturday said it was the largest turnout they've had in months.

Sixteen people showed up to search woods near the Fort Worth apartment where Johnson disappeared. One man drove from Allen. Another came from Temple.

"Team Christina" says they plan to ramp up searches for other missing people once Christina is laid to rest.

Arrangements for a public memorial are pending.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Millennials: A Generation of Business Disrupters?]]> Fri, 16 Mar 2018 23:21:14 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/millennial+computer.JPG

Amazon changed the way many people shop. Uber and Lyft changed how many hail a ride. So, who are the next game-changers in the world of business?

North Texan Alex Doubet, 29, is working to disrupt the way homes are bought and sold. He founded a flat-free brokerage called Door after his mom sold their family home.

"She was, by no means, rich. She built up a lot of equity over two decades. She used a traditional real estate agent and paid six percent, which is standard. That was over $53,000 for her," Doubet said.

The commissions to buyers' and sellers' agents, while typical, made Doubet wonder if there is another way.

"I just thought the fact that you can pay that much money for something, pay such a high cost for so little value, indicated to me that this industry is just broke," he said.

His company helps stage, market and sell a home for a flat $5,000 fee no matter the size or value of the home.

Buyers who use Door to find a home are given a refund check after the close of sale for the cost of a typical commission minus the $5,000 fee.

Agents at Door are paid a salary and offered benefits and bonuses, but don't get a commission.

Doubet says most buyers and sellers would save money, as long as the home sells for more than $168,000 — what he considers the break-even point.

Traditional agents argue the idea of a flat-fee brokerage isn't new. Candy Evans, author of the real estate blog Candy's Dirt, says clients may find their agents are already willing to negotiate their commission in order to get a deal done.

But Doubet insists his approach is catching on. Since founding Door in 2015, the firm has grown to nearly 40 employees, who Doubet says have bought and sold around 400 homes. Door is operating in Austin and has plans to expand to the Houston and San Antonio markets later this year, eventually adding mortgage services to Door's offering.

Doubet, who was not a real estate agent at the inception of Door, is betting on future disruption in the industry.

"You do tend to see people from outside the industry coming in, because you have a different viewpoint if you don't have any pre-conceived notions as to how the process should work," Doubet said.

The outsider's point-of-view, combined with a millennial's comfort with technology, helped another North Texan launch a fashion and lifestyle technology company that drove a billion dollars in sales last year.

Amber Venz Box, the 30-year-old co-founder of rewardStyle, is changing how people buy fashion, makeup and even home decor. Instead of browsing a sales floor, buyers are scanning Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat.

"You're looking at people like you that you can consume their lives, and there's a level of authenticity and trust," said Box.

Users of the " LIKEtoKNOW.it" service can now screenshot an outfit, room decor or product on the social media accounts of more than 20,000 influencers to quickly get details about where to buy the product.

The business idea began with a problem Box had back in 2011 when Box was a Southern Methodist University graduate with a style blog. She used her blog, which featured pictures of her in the outfits she put together, as a marketing tool for her personal shopping business.

But as the blog took off in popularity, Box discovered readers were simply copying her outfits and going directly to stores to pull off the same look. Box got clicks, but no commissions.

She and her then-boyfriend, now husband, came up with a way to link her outfit details directly to stores and approached retailers with her idea.

"We presented it as we're just a different type of sales person. Just pay us a commission. If it works, great. If it doesn't, no skin off your back," Box said.

The idea did work. Box earned a commission from sales that originated on her blog. The couple began offering the service to other bloggers and eventually expanded to capitalize on shoppers who were using social media for buying inspiration.

"In 2014, 23 percent of the clicks that we drove to retailers through our influencers' content was mobile. Today, it is 69-percent mobile. Everyone is consuming content from their mobile device, and they're creating it there," Box said. "Not only has the industry progressed, society has really changed at a really rapid pace. Innovation has been critically important."

The company has seven world-wide offices, with its headquarters in Dallas. Nearly half of the employees are engineers, Box said. She's invested in a team that studies trends and reports back on business intel. She says they are constantly working to stay ahead of trends, develop the technology to capitalize on them, and bring high tech ideas into low tech spaces.

The Box family recently launched a new business called Cherry, offering in-home manicure services that can be ordered through an app.

"I think we are a generation that likes to create and generate, and so we are always looking for new ideas and how to do it better," Box said. "We somehow don't have a fear of change."

But Box says she's most proud of finding a way to monetize a creative industry, allowing bloggers and influencers to make money doing what they love to do.

"We have 20,000 people world-wide who are some of the most incredible artists that I've ever met in my life, that are actually running small businesses and supporting their families."

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Read McCabe's Full Statement on His Termination From the FBI]]> Fri, 16 Mar 2018 21:46:08 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_17131530697588.jpg

Below is Andrew McCabe's full statement on his termination from the FBI:

I have been an FBI Special Agent for over 21 years. I spent half of that time investigating Russian Organized Crime as a street agent and Supervisor in New York City. I have spent the second half of my career focusing on national security issues and protecting this country from terrorism. I served in some of the most challenging, demanding investigative and leadership roles in the FBI. And I was privileged to serve as Deputy Director during a particularly tough time.

For the last year and a half, my family and I have been the targets of an unrelenting assault on our reputation and my service to this country. Articles too numerous to count have leveled every sort of false, defamatory and degrading allegation against us. The President’s tweets have amplified and exacerbated it all. He called for my firing. He called for me to be stripped of my pension after more than 20 years of service. And all along we have said nothing, never wanting to distract from the mission of the FBI by addressing the lies told and repeated about us.

No more.

The investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has to be understood in the context of the attacks on my credibility. The investigation flows from my attempt to explain the FBI’s involvement and my supervision of investigations involving Hillary Clinton. I was being portrayed in the media over and over as a political partisan, accused of closing down investigations under political pressure. The FBI was portrayed as caving under that pressure, and making decisions for political rather than law enforcement purposes. Nothing was further from the truth. In fact, this entire investigation stems from my efforts, fully authorized under FBI rules, to set the record straight on behalf of the Bureau, and to make clear that we were continuing an investigation that people in DOJ opposed.

The OIG investigation has focused on information I chose to share with a reporter through my public affairs officer and a legal counselor. As Deputy Director, I was one of only a few people who had the authority to do that. It was not a secret, it took place over several days, and others, including the Director, were aware of the interaction with the reporter. It was the type of exchange with the media that the Deputy Director oversees several times per week. In fact, it was the same type of work that I continued to do under Director Wray, at his request. The investigation subsequently focused on who I talked to, when I talked to them, and so forth. During these inquiries, I answered questions truthfully and as accurately as I could amidst the chaos that surrounded me. And when I thought my answers were misunderstood, I contacted investigators to correct them.

But looking at that in isolation completely misses the big picture. The big picture is a tale of what can happen when law enforcement is politicized, public servants are attacked, and people who are supposed to cherish and protect our institutions become instruments for damaging those institutions and people.

Here is the reality: I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey. The release of this report was accelerated only after my testimony to the House Intelligence Committee revealed that I would corroborate former Director Comey’s accounts of his discussions with the President. The OIG’s focus on me and this report became a part of an unprecedented effort by the Administration, driven by the President himself, to remove me from my position, destroy my reputation, and possibly strip me of a pension that I worked 21 years to earn. The accelerated release of the report, and the punitive actions taken in response, make sense only when viewed through this lens. Thursday’s comments from the White House are just the latest example of this.

This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally. It is part of this Administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation, which continue to this day. Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the Special Counsel’s work.

I have always prided myself on serving my country with distinction and integrity, and I always encouraged those around me to do the same. Just ask them. To have my career end in this way, and to be accused of lacking candor when at worst I was distracted in the midst of chaotic events, is incredibly disappointing and unfair. But it will not erase the important work I was privileged to be a part of, the results of which will in the end be revealed for the country to see.

I have unfailing faith in the men and women of the FBI and I am confident that their efforts to seek justice will not be deterred.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File]]>
<![CDATA[‘I Am a Living Ghost’: Romanian Man Fails to Prove He’s Not Dead]]> Fri, 16 Mar 2018 20:16:43 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/DEADMANDOTELLTALES.00_00_36_13.Still007.jpg

Sometimes dead men do tell tales: A Romanian man who says his wife had him declared dead has been trying to prove in court that it was a mistake. But the court this week rejected his claim and said that the ruling is fi

<![CDATA[Scientist Weighs in on Complaints Against North Texas Water]]> Fri, 16 Mar 2018 18:50:21 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/Water_Quality_Investigation_6p_31618.jpg

Just one day after the North Texas Municipal Water District assured its customers that its drinking water meets state standards and is absolutely safe, more people are raising questions.

Dr. Zacariah Hildenbrand, with the University of Texas-Arlington's Collaborative Laboratory of Environmental Analysis and Remediation, says a post by activist Erin Brockovich wasn't the first thing to alert him to concerns.

"What we believe is going on there is that these municipal water suppliers are hitting their water with a lot of chlorine, which is one way to kill bacteria," Hildenbrand said.

But similar to allegations made by Brockovich, Hildenbrand says chlorine isn't effective at killing all pathogenic bacteria. That's why they both believe too many disinfection byproducts get left behind.

In addition to a strong chlorine scent, he says the incomplete removal of that bacteria leads to gastrointestinal issues and skin irritations.

"The reason this hasn't been a bigger issue or that there hasn't been more news coverage of this is that under the current water standards, either by the state of Texas or the federal standards, you're only required to test for a certain number of bacteria," Hildenbrand said.

He says using new technology, his team has tested for that bacteria and believes its prevalent in several water supplies across the state.

"There should be concern to this," Hildenbrand said. "It really makes me wonder if chlorination protocols, especially in the United States, are actually effective against all of the microbes we're seeing in the water. We really need to dive in and see exactly what's going on here."

The North Texas Municipal Water District will join Plano City Council to discuss water testing and water quality during Tuesday's council meeting.

<![CDATA[Big Changes Coming to Dallas' Bishop Arts Neighborhood]]> Fri, 16 Mar 2018 18:37:47 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/bishop+arts+apartments.JPG

Big apartment buildings are going up in the popular Bishop Arts District neighborhood with about 1,000 new units coming soon.

The first new units are on Zang Boulevard along the Oak Cliff street car line.

People in the existing retail and restaurant district of older restored buildings near Davis Street and Bishop Avenue have mixed feelings about the new construction.

"We're really, really excited about the growth that's happening," said Bishop Arts merchant Cody Ellison, who operates two existing business in Bishop Arts and plans to open an art gallery.

Ellison said the new development will compliment what is already there.

"We are already a destination. I have people from Oklahoma, Arkansas, we have a big draw from North Dallas, Allen, Plano that come in. And it's really a way to get away when you don't have the time to travel far," Ellison said.

Sisters Lea McCall and Lynn Mitchell grew up in Oak Cliff and enjoy returning to Bishop Arts for shopping and dining. They can see why more people would like to live there.

"It's fun. There's plenty of things to do right here, and you're a hop, skip and a jump to Dallas," Lynn Mitchell said.

But the Oak Cliff natives do not like the new construction.

"To me, it just ruins the neighborhood," Lea McCall said. "So many people are going to fluctuate in here. And cars? I mean, look at it. There's traffic already."

Ellison said the new developments will all have on-site parking for apartment tenants and new retail businesses in those buildings. He said 200 new public parking spaces are also included in the Bishop Arts plan. And he said an improved valet parking arrangement by existing merchants now helps people arriving on Bishop Avenue south of Davis Street.

"Before, valet was just for restaurants," Ellison said. "Now anyone can valet."

Former Dallas City Councilman Bob Stimson was also the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce president for many years when the Bishop Arts area was not the thriving destination it is today. He was involved in planning for these developments.

"I'm excited about what's going on in Bishop Arts these days," Stimson said. "All of the construction, all of the building that's going on there was by design."

Stimson said neighbors had input in the planning that was intended to boost property values and make the neighborhood healthier for the people who were already there.

"We wanted to make sure that Bishop Arts stayed around and was always popular. So, we put in the street car, and we put in the zoning that would allow the development to happen along the major commercial corridors," he said.

Stimson admits some tenants who lived in a few rundown properties that were torn down to make way for redevelopment may no longer be able to afford living in Bishop Arts. But he said the area needed a boost, and the city is better off for what is happening in the area.

"It is a great story of how to redevelop an aging neighborhood without doing a whole lot of displacement," Stimson said.

Lynn McCall sees other motives for the city.

"They want the tax money," she said.

All interested parties will see how the new arrangement works as hundreds of new apartments open to tenants this summer.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Firms Behind FIU Bridge Collapse Have History of Violations]]> Fri, 16 Mar 2018 20:06:08 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/189*120/tlmd-puente-miami-GettyImages-932513832.jpg

The companies behind a pedestrian bridge that collapsed near Florida International University have faced questions about their past work, and one is accused of substandard work in a lawsuit filed earlier this month.

Munilla Construction Management, a Miami-based construction management firm, won the $14.2 million contract to build a pedestrian walkway that would connect the FIU campus to the city of Sweetwater. The partially built 175-foot, 950-ton section of the bridge had been assembled by the side of the highway and moved into place Saturday to great fanfare. It collapsed just five days later, trapping cars underneath and leaving at least six people dead.

MCM said on Twitter that it is "a family business and we are all devastated and doing everything we can to assist. We will conduct a full investigation to determine exactly what went wrong and will cooperate with investigators on scene in every way."

The company has a long history of working on large-scale government contracts in Florida and across the U.S., and it has been a prolific donor to local and federal politicians, according to the Miami Herald. It has also had some safety issues.

A review of Occupational Safety and Health Administration records shows that MCM has been cited for 11 safety violations, three of them "serious," between 2014 to 2017, according to the federal agency. The fines totaling more than $50,000 arose from complaints about unsafe trenches, cement dust and other problems at its Florida work sites.

And just last week, a Transportation Security Administration employee filed a lawsuit accusing the company of "shoddy work" after MCM allegedly placed a makeshift bridge at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport that collapsed under his weight. Jose Perez said in court documents he sustained significant injuries in the October 2016 incident.

The lawsuit alleges that MCM "failed to utilize reasonable care in the design, planning, inspection and maintenance" of the make-shift bridge, adding it employed "incompetent, inexperienced, unskilled, or careless employees." The makeshift bridge was inside a construction site not accessible to the general public, according to the lawsuit.

In a statement, MCM said the incident is being mischaracterized and that the "makeshift bridge" referenced in the lawsuit was a piece of plywood.

"We want to make it clear that there is no bridge, or temporary bridge, at this project," MCM wrote. "This was simply a trip and fall accident that occurred on the ground floor involving a piece of plywood that was covering a sidewalk under construction."

MCM was awarded the $128 million expansion of Terminal 4 at Fort Lauderdale airport in October 2015. A month later, the company announced in a news release it had secured the FIU pedestrian bridge project in partnership with FIGG Bridge Engineers, a Tallahassee firm that designed the structure.

After Thursday’s deadly collapse FIGG said in a statement, "In our 40-year history, nothing like this has ever happened before."

But FIGG was fined in 2012 after a 90-ton section of a bridge it was building in Virginia crashed onto railroad tracks below, injuring four workers. A citation from the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry said FIGG did not properly inspect a girder and had not obtained written consent from its manufacturer before modifying it, according to The Virginian-Pilot. The newspaper reported the state fined FIGG $28,000.

The firm is behind two iconic Florida landmarks: the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Tampa Bay and the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys.

When the aging Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis collapsed in 2007, killing 13 people and injuring 145, FIGG was chosen to design the replacement. The original structure was designed by Sverdrup & Parcel in the 1960s.

Additionally, NASA contracted FIGG to repair an unspecified number of bridges at both the Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in September 2011, the Miami Herald reported.

The pedestrian bridge at FIU was the first joint venture for MCM and FIGG. The $14.2 million project was supposed to be a hallmark of the faster, cheaper and less risky method of bridge-building promoted by the university. Slated to open in 2019, it would have provided safe passage over a canal and six lanes of traffic, and created a showpiece architectural feature connecting the FIU campus and the community of Sweetwater, where many students live.

As state and federal investigators worked to determine why the span collapsed, authorities said Friday that cables supporting the bridge under construction were being tightened following a “stress test” when it collapsed.

"This is a tragedy that we don't want to re-occur anywhere in the United States," said Juan Perez, director of the Miami-Dade police. "We just want to find out what caused this collapse to occur and people to die."

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[FAA Grounds Doors-Off Flights Without Quick-Release Harness]]> Fri, 16 Mar 2018 17:15:35 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Chopper_Lawsuit_10p_03132018.jpg

The Federal Aviation Administration is grounding all "doors off" helicopter operations that involve restraints that cannot be released quickly in an emergency.

The notice comes Friday, nearly a week after five people drowned March 11 when a helicopter crash landed in New York City's East River. Only the pilot escaped the crash, leading many to question whether the passengers were equipped or informed on how to escape during an emergency.

The FAA released the following message on Twitter at about 1 p.m.

Helicopter operators, pilots and consumers should be aware of the hazard from supplemental restraint devices during an emergency evacuation during “doors off” flights. The FAA will order operators and pilots to take immediate action to control/mitigate this risk. Until then, the FAA will order no more “doors off” operations that involve restraints that cannot be released quickly in an emergency. Additionally, the FAA will conduct a top to bottom review of its rules governing these flights to examine any potential misapplication that could create safety gaps for passengers.

The FAA did not specify what constitutes an easy release and the notice brings about many questions for the helicopter tourism industry.

Killed in the crash were 29-year-old Carla Vallejos Blanco, an Argentinian tourist, longtime 26-year-old friends Brian McDaniel, a Dallas firefighter, and Trevor Cadigan, a New York resident from Dallas-Fort Worth whom McDaniel was visiting, and two helicopter employees -- 29-year-old Tristan Hill, 34-year-old Daniel Thompson.

Cadigan's family, who filed a lawsuit against the helicopter operator earlier this week, released a statement Friday afternoon saying, "The family of Trevor Cadigan is extremely gratified and appreciative of today's actions by the FAA -- barring these dangerous flights."

The Cadigan's lawyer, Gary Robb, also released a statement saying, "This action was long overdue and while appreciated is too late to save any of these young people who drowned to death in this tragic helicopter crash."

In their suit the Cadigan family is seeking unspecified damages and spotlighted the helicopters harness-restraint system and that the inflatable floats on the chopper's skids failed to keep the aircraft from rolling over and sinking.

<![CDATA[US Rep Barton Reflects on Career: 'Don't Do Stupid Things']]> Fri, 16 Mar 2018 19:50:18 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Barton_on_LSP_4p_31618.jpg

U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, joins Lone Star Politics, talking about the decision not to run for reelection and what will happen to the district he served for more than 30 years.

<![CDATA[First Victim of Florida Bridge Collapse Identified]]> Fri, 16 Mar 2018 16:46:28 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/DIT+NAT+BRIDGE+COLLAPSE+VICTIM+THUMB.jpg

College freshman Alexa Duran died Thursday in the Miami bridge collapse, officials have confirmed. Duran was killed as she was driving home from a doctor’s appointment and the bridge collapsed on top of her car. Her friend Richard Humble was in the passenger’s seat and survived.

<![CDATA[Millennials Move to the Suburbs And Add to Traffic]]> Fri, 16 Mar 2018 17:21:32 -0500 https://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Millennials_in_the_Suburbs_4p_31618.jpg

According to Zillow, millennials are the largest group of home buyers and they're moving to the suburbs for their growing families and to escape the busy city, and that means more people on North Texas roads.